Are You Finding the Best People? They are usually employed - and seldom looking

By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | February 22, 2010

The Wall Street Journal recently confirmed what many long have suspected - namely, that "Online job boards have lost their cachet." (July 12, 2005) Why?

According to the Journal, they are yielding "landslides of r'esum'es" that mostly come from unqualified candidates.

"The trick - something that executive-search firms and headhunters have known for decades - is that the perfect candidate is usually working happily at a desk somewhere."

The Journal is exactly right.

There are two types of job candidates, in the parlance of professional recruiters. The first is the so-called "active" candidate, who is either seeking new employment or at least wanting to test the waters. Active candidates may or may not be employed. The "passive" candidate, by contrast, is certainly employed and too engaged in his or her work to be actively looking.

While there is nothing wrong with the active candidate (and we would disagree completely with those recruiters who regard them as "damaged goods"), it is a poor recruitment strategy to limit one's search to the active candidate pool. And that, unfortunately, is the great limitation of job boards and corporate websites, whose portals are open 24/7. They are directed primarily at those individuals who need or want to find a new job. Moreover, those in need of new employment tend to be less discriminating in responding to opportunities, meaning that there will be many responses from those who are under or over-qualified. To make matters worse, the more popular your company is as a place to work, the more useless r'esum'es it is likely to receive.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.